Third Amendments to the Chinese Trademark Law is Finally Here!

[Arthur Tan-Chi Yuan]

The wait is finally over.  On August 30, 2013, the People's Congress of the People's Republic of China passed the bill amending the Chinese Trademark Law for the third time.  The Chinese trademark law was last amended on October 27, 2001, about 12 years ago.  The new law will take effect on May 1, 2014.  Before the official translation becomes available, here are some of the changes, including changes to combat trademark squatters, made to the old law (the complete Chinese version is here) based on the press release from the Trademark Office of PRC:

  1.  Newly added section 1 in Article 7: Applicant who files for a trademark registration and uses a trademark should be done in good faith.
  2. Article 8 is amended to include "sound" as a new mark registrable in China.  
  3. Article 10 (governing what cannot be used as trademarks), section 1, subsection 7 is amended to include "having deceiptive nature that can easily confuse the publice of a product's quality or other characteristics or its source of origin."
  4. Newly added section 1 in Article 13: For marks that are well-known to the relevant public, the right holder of the mark may request the protection of a well-known mark under this title if the right holder believe its right has been infringed.
  5. Newly added subparagraphs in Article 14: Party who asserts violation of its rights under Article 13 has the option to seek a court determination of well-known mark status.
  6. Newly added section 2 in Article 15: For a trademark application on the identical class or similar classes of goods as a prior used but unregistered mark owned by another, if the application knows the existence of a prior mark via a contract other than the ones mentioned in subsection above, through business dealings, or other means, said trademark application shall be rejected upon the opposition by the prior mark right holder.
  7. New Article 22 (as a result of consolidation of old Articles 19 and 20) includes provisions that allows one application to designate multiple classes and allows electronic filing.
  8. New Article 28 (based on old Article 27) requires that the trademark office shall conclude the examination of a trademark application within 9 months from date of filing.

Thanks to our sponsor, CCPIT Patent and Trademark Office, a full translation of the 2013 law is here.

[*Note: The author claims no rights to the original Chinese patent law.  The translations from the original are author’s own work, and any errors thereof shall be author's and shall not be attributed to any portion of the original Chinese texts.]